A young resident of Navan sets out to get his grandparents and aunt to safety in Ireland, as they flee heavy bombardment in Ukraine.
Relatives Vladislav Zhdanko (27) are currently making the perilous journey from their home in Zaporizhia, eastern Ukraine, to the Polish border in a bid to escape the fighting.
Unfortunately, the family left behind Vladislav’s father, who refused to leave his homeland.
Their home in Zaporizhia was constantly bombed by the Russians who attacked a nearby nuclear power plant, the largest such facility in Europe.
“It was very worrying. The bombs were falling continuously and attacking the nuclear facility was particularly dangerous. “Of course, not just for my family, but for all of Europe. Russia is the first country that put all of Europe in such danger,” says Vladislav.
When the Russian invasion began nearly two weeks ago, Vladislav’s family had planned to stay, but as the shelling intensified, his grandparents and aunt decided to try to get to safety. .
“I hope they will get to the safety of Poland soon,” he said. Ukrainians are very good and help each other.
“My family took a taxi to the station and the taxi driver only charged them 10 cents – a token sum, claiming he had already brought his family out of Ukraine. Everyone tries to help each other. The Vladislav family was lucky because they managed to catch a train the day they arrived at the station.
“There were people there two days, trying to get out. The train they are on is absolutely packed. They are in a small cabin with ten other people. They are trying to get as many people as possible to safety. The journey will be very long. “They had to stop several times for the shooting and shooting to stop.”
Vladislav’s family will receive help in Ukraine from the family of another Navan resident, Justyna Boland.
Justyna is Polish, but her mother is Ukrainian and she has relatives from her mother in Ukraine.
“When my family arrives in Kovel (western Ukraine) where Justyna’s family is, they pick them up and drive them to the border,” Vladislav explains.
Once in Poland, other members of Justyna’s family will bring the group to Warsaw.
“I have reserved a hotel for them in Warsaw where they will have the opportunity to change money, have breakfast and rest for a few days.
“Poland has been very good with the Ukrainian people.
“I’m ready to go to Poland and the weekends and bring them back to Navan.
“They will be able to stay with us for a while, but they will need suitable accommodation. We’ll sleep on the floor until then, but at least they’ll be safe.
Vladislav (left), who went to school in Navan and lives in Canterbrook, played a vital role in helping his compatriots survive the fighting from the start.
He posted information online about trains running, the location of bomb shelters, the location of blood donation centers and open pharmacies, banks and shops.